Learn techniques, tour farm April 24-25
Specialty cut flowers may be the next new crop for Nevada small farms. Western Nevada College Specialty Crop Institute will explore the possibilities on Friday and Saturday, April 24-25, in a workshop on locally growing and marketing cut flowers. The sessions will include classroom instruction at the Carson City campus, 2201 West College Parkway, and a site visit to Smith & Smith Farms, a flower grower in Dayton. Friday's session is 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. On Saturday, participants will choose a morning or afternoon visit to the farm.
Featured speakers Brenda Smith and Vicki Stamback are national leaders in the specialty cut flower industry. Both women are successful business owners and accomplished teachers. Smith, owner of Smith & Smith Farms, has been growing flowers in Dayton since 1996. Stamback owns Bear Creek Farms in Stillwater, Okla., and sells to retail florists in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
Friday's session will feature the business of cut flowers, including planning and marketing, growing techniques, resources and new industry developments. On Saturday, participants will tour Smith & Smith Farms where the instructors will demonstrate field preparation, including equipment, irrigation and fertilization methods. Students will also have the chance to plant flower transplants to the field.
The phrase "specialty cut flower" typically refers to all varieties other than carnations, chrysanthemums, and roses - the three flowers that have been most popular in flower arrangements. The demand for specialty cut flowers has increased dramatically in the U.S. floral industry in recent years, resulting in opportunities for local farms to fill the production gap. The tremendous variety of plants allows growers to choose those that are well adapted to the farm site, and makes diversity in production and marketing possible. The high value of specialty cut flowers can mean increased profitability compared to growing other crops. With consumer demand for locally grown products at an all-time high, growers are finding sales opportunities at florists, restaurants, farmers markets, and wholesalers.
The Western Nevada College Specialty Crop Institute is an innovative education program for current and future small-scale farmers, as well as students and professionals. Participants learn alternative farming methods to transition from low-value crops to high-value, direct-marketed specialty crops that can increase profitability and conserve water. Workshops combine classroom and on-farm learning experiences. The Western Nevada College Specialty Crop Institute is made possible with funding from the Nevada Department of Agriculture and USDA/AMS through the Specialty Crop Block Grant.
Cost is $60 for the two-day workshop, which includes lunch on Friday. Registrants receive a $10 discount if payment is made by April 21.
To register, contact Ginny Dugan, 775-423-7565, ext. 2230, or visit WNC's web site, www.wnc.edu/sci. For information regarding the Specialty Crop Institute and future workshops, contact Project Coordinator Ann Louhela at 775-351-2551.
Press Release: March 30, 2009
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2201 W. College Parkway
Carson City, NV 89703